in ,

Woman Takes Teen Niece To Court For Throwing Paint On Her $20k Coat As A Social Media Prank

Woman holding up expensive coat
CentralITAlliance/Getty Images

At the height of social media, we can’t help but wonder how far some people will go to go viral.

Some relationships are bound to have been ruined by pranks, for sure, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor throooowaaaayt was appalled when her niece dumped paint on her and didn’t even seem to be sorry for it.

But when she discovered it was for an online prank, the Original Poster (OP) was seeing red.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for taking my niece to court over a coat?”

The OP received a very expensive gift from her mother-in-law.

“I (28 Female) have a niece (16 Female). She is my only sister’s only child.”

“Two years ago, I married a very wealthy man (34 Male), and because of the pandemic, last Christmas was my first with my in-laws.”

“My Mother-in-Law (MIL) gifted me a coat that is worth more than $20k. I saw her wearing it, asked her where she bought it, and she said that it will be my Christmas gift from her (to clarify, my coat was bought brand new and was identical to my MIL’s).”

“I didn’t know how much it was (I knew it was expensive, but I thought maybe $3k at most).”

“I was visiting my sister last January when my niece saw it. She googled the brand and showed me how much it really was.”

“I won’t lie, I didn’t wear it after that because I was afraid of ruining it.”

When the OP finally decided to wear it again, it backfired.

“Last week, I wore it while visiting my sister.”

“While I was putting it back on to leave, I felt something go splat on my back.”

“Then my niece started cackling and the smell of paint hit me.”

“I was so p**sed off while she was not apologetic at all.”

“Her mom screamed at her and said she was grounded. Then she said she will pay for the dry cleaning.”

Then the OP discovered the truth behind the paint spill.

“While I was in my car, still in shock, by the way, I got an alert that my niece posted a reel.”

“It was of her doing a prank on me, in which she said, ‘I’m going to hit my aunt’s $20k coat with a paint-filled balloon to see how she reacts.'”

“I saved it on my phone, sent it to her mom, and told her that a week’s grounding is not enough.”

“She did not reply, but I saw that my niece took it down (it got less than 5 views by then).”

“The next day I found out my coat can not be saved, so I called my sister and told her that her daughter has to pay it back.”

“Well, we got into an argument and she said that they will not be paying it, and if I wanted a new one, I should get my husband to buy it for me.”

“I think that they should pay for it (they can afford to on their own, but in my opinion, they should sell my niece’s car and pay me back my money from that).”

The OP knew she had to take the next step.

“We did not reach an agreement, so I told her that I will be suing, and reminded her that I have video evidence that her daughter A) did it on purpose for online clout and B) knew exactly how expensive it was.”

“People in my life are not objective at all.”

“I have some calling me an AH, some saying they are the AHs for not buying me a new one, and some so obsessed with the price of the coat that they are calling me an AH for simply owning it and wanting a new one.”

“So AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some wanted to see the OP’s niece receive consequences for her prank.

“More immature or not, six-year-olds are rarely this mean and destructive. This girl knew the value of the coat was extreme and deliberately set out to destroy it, record it, put it on social media, and gain attention from it.”

“That is a crime. And it isn’t going to be a misdemeanor with a 20k value.”

“When you call the lawyer, ask him to help you go to the police station and press charges on the attention-seeking niece. Ask the lawyer to make sure to notify you when your niece will be arrested. Go film it and put it on social media.”

“Maybe then she, and her parents, will learn that if you deliberately destroy someone’s property, you replace it.” – New_Improvement9644

“Reading the title, I didn’t think I’d be saying this, but NTA. It’s an insane amount of money for a coat. It’s money that a 16-year-old wouldn’t have. Except, you know, using her college fund, which as 20k of debt is quite manageable.”

“She did it expressly to hurt her aunt and has no remorse. This is just the consequences of her actions.” – gogogadgetrage

“She’s a teen. She can work and pay it back in installments. How can a 16-year-old not have any respect for other persons’ belongings? Expensive belongings at that!” – AngeladeFrost

“They can afford it by selling the niece’s car. That’s the punishment she deserves. She caused it, so she pays. If she doesn’t like it, that’s ok. She can sell the car herself to pay for damages the court will award.”

“Lesson well learned.” – BurdenedMind79

“Sell her car, sell her cell phone, sell her personal computer. She can rent a Chromebook from her school or the library to do homework. What a gigantic brat.” – Due_Honey_8256

Others also took issue with the sister’s outlook on what had happened.

“OP’s sister is also saying that OP’s husband can simply buy her another one, yet the coat didn’t even come from him. It was a gift from his mother.”

“NTA OP, if your sister won’t give her daughter proper punishment, you may need to force it.” – crocodilezebramilk

“She and her family need to learn the value of money. Since the parents don’t feel they should have to repay it, they are equally at fault.”

“They literally let their daughter’s need for online attention write a check her a** couldn’t cash. An expensive lesson for everyone involved.” – Lilitu9Tails

“NTA. This is a really good way for your niece to learn that actions have consequences and hopefully will serve her well in the future when she’s older.”

“And your sister seems to need that lesson too, sounds like. ‘Just have your husband buy you a new one’ is NOT an appropriate reaction to your kid destroying a $20K item.” – voiceless_lemon

“It’s not about the price of the item; it’s about destroying someone else property and not being sorry. It doesn’t matter if it’s $20 OR $20,000.”

“What she did was wrong and she and her mother need to do the right thing and replace the coat. And the niece needs to learn to respect other people’s belongings, no matter the cost.” – clarkjan64

“NTA. This is criminal damage. She knew the value of the coat, and she used paint which normally can’t be removed. Sometimes, people have to face the consequences of their actions.”

“It’s not about the coat, it’s about personal responsibility, and 16 is way old enough to know better. She did this out of jealousy, and I’m guessing your sister had something to do with that.”

“This girl owes you for the coat she ruined, and she should pay for it.” – alien_overlord_1001

After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update in another post

“Here is a quick update, since the situation has been resolved.”

“When my husband got home, I told him what happened and showed him the video.”

“He asked if I spoke with my Brother-in-Law (BIL), and I said no, all my conversations were with my sister. He said that he will take care of it.”

“Now, a disclaimer: I understand nothing when it comes to insurance claims, and this is what my husband told me/I understood happened.”

“My husband talked with my BIL, told him exactly what happened, and showed him the prank video. Then he told him that the coat was insured, we will be filing a claim and submitting the video, and we might have to file charges for the claim (he assured him that we would be dropping the charges, and we do not want to send niece to jail).”

“Then he told him that one of two things might happen: after our insurance pays us, they will come after them. If their insurance pays, their premium will skyrocket. If it doesn’t, they might sue them, and might get a line on their house.”

“My BIL asked if there was a way he could pay us without involving insurance.”

“My husband told him that that was what we wanted at first, but that my sister insisted that they will not be paying us back.”

“Apparently, my BIL was not in the know, and he was very p**sed off at what my niece did, and my sister’s response.”

“So they came to this solution: my niece’s car will be sold, and if it doesn’t fetch the whole compensation money, she will have to get a job and pay me the whole check until it is paid off. Also, she is grounded for the rest of the school year.”

“I am thankful for the people who encouraged me to talk with my husband.”

While not everyone would be open to spending so much money on a coat, everyone could agree that intentionally damaging someone’s property, especially for the purpose of a prank, was not okay.

The OP’s niece was already old enough to understand that her actions were not appropriate, but hopefully with her upcoming consequences, she would learn the actual gravity of the situation she’d placed her aunt in.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit